Showing posts from October, 2005

Day 211: Pumpkin Pepita Bread

It is great fun to discover new recipes only because some random ingredient was hanging around and needed using up!

Today, the target was pepitas, roasted pumpkin seeds. For situations like this, my favorite resources are:
The reliable Epicurious despite its less-than-modern search capabilitiesThe multi-ingredient useful FoodieView which could be still more useful were its feeds to include more than 2 or 3 food blogs So after considering everything from fish crusts to pepita brittle, I settled on this quick bread.

It's a good way to use up pepitas -- today's were hulled from Trader Joe's but you can make your own, too, as Elise has here at Simply Recipes.

That said, I wouldn't buy pepitas special for making pumpkin bread and thus this recipe won't replace my long-time favorite, especially since the pepitas really add to the calorie count.


~ more pumpkin recipes ~

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 90 min…

Day 210: Asian Broccoli in the Microwave ♥

~ recipe & photo updated 2007 ~
2005: Lots of folks really cook with their microwaves. Aside from heating leftovers, mine is rarely called on for much beyond popping corn, melting butter and the morning oatmeal. And it shows: in seven months, there are only five microwave vegetable recipes on A Veggie Venture.

Time to fix that! And here's a start, with broccoli, one of several vegetables for which microwaves are perfect time-wise and taste-wise.

But microwaves do vary in power so the trick is, for something like broccoli that you might make again and again, is to take time-and-taste notes until you achieve reliable and perfect results, then do just repeat again and again.

TIP: Record the details on a sticky pad and stick it inside a cupboard as a reference next time. My notes from tonight read, "1/2 inch water, 'trees' vs trimmed, miked 5min covered then 5min rest w sauce ... too al dente ... next time try 7min in mike".

OH: and the sauce is so easy, so fast, so g…

Day 209: Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup ♥ Recipe

Today's soup recipe: A gorgeous recipe for broccoli cheese soup, substantial enough for supper. It is rich and creamy yet not fat with empty calories. The spices build a flavor layer that many broccoli cheese soups don't have, fresh broccoli makes it all come alive. Gorgeous color! Weight Watchers Friendly. Easily Made Gluten Free.
Way Back in 2005 When This Recipe Was First Published: This is one great soup. Let me say it differently: this is one GREAT soup. The cumin and mustard deepen and sharpen the flavor of an otherwise bland mix of vegetables. The potato softens and creams the broth. The peppers and broccoli just look pretty and taste good! It takes some time to make but can be cooked partway, then rewarmed and finished later in all of 20 minutes. For anyone watching calories, it is just as delicious without the cheese.

And Then In 2010: When I return to an early recipe from the first year of A Veggie Venture, I wonder if it will stand up to its memory. This recipe do…

Day 208: Roasted Beets with Balsamic Vinegar ♥

When the oven's already on for something else, it just feels good to roast some vegetables at the same time, even if they're not on the night's menu.

Tonight I tried roasting the beets with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, the new favorite technique over at The Amateur Gourmet. Adam wraps the beets in foil. I wrapped two, then decided that foil wasn't so efficient for the remaining five beets so arranged them in a single layer in a covered casserole dish and roasted them side-by-side.

Both turned out great! And the balsamic vinegar is an inspired addition.

Oven temperature is always a question.
The Amateur Gourmet roasts his at 400F for an hour. I did a little math and thought that at 375F, the beets'd be done in 65 minutes. Nope. It took 90 minutes for both those wrapped in foil and the ones in the casserole.
Are there temperature/time conversion techniques that actually work? UPDATE: I've learned that it really isn't predictable how long it will take…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Creamy Wild Rice Soup ◄

Winter and Spring and Summer may have their soups. But Fall? Fall is the Real Soup Season!

This week's Kitchen Parade column features a long-time favorite, a wild rice soup creamed with parsnip and potato and perfect for chilly days.

Day 206: Vegetarian Tsimmes ♥

'The Minimalist' Mark Bittman was in St Louis last night to promote his new book,The Best Recipes in the World, another tome of 700+ pages like his bestselling and my oft-cooked-from How to Cook Everything.

It was a small group of foodies gathered round, not a bite in sight, but I found him funny, cerebral and real, the kind of person you'd love to share a table with, even if he knew not one whit about food!

My thoughts on the new book after scanning maybe 100 pages, yes, in the vegetable section:
If you like How to Cook Everything and the Wednesday columns in the New York Times, you'll likely appreciate the new book tooIt's classic Minimalist style with short ingredient lists and shortcut techniquesIt's packed with substitution ideas -- this is also hallmark Minimalist and last night he quoted Jacques Pepin about kitchen artistry, 'You never step in the same river twice'The recipes seem somewhat adventurous but not the least bit 'weird'I 'st…

Veggies for Kids: Moms Speak of Success

Today three Moms wrote of (surprising!) success getting vegetables into their little ones:

Meg of Too Many Chefs made kid- and parent-friendly (if a tad messy for toddlers) zucchini muffins
Alysha from The Savory Notebook first had luck with a canned vegetable soup and decided to brave a vegetable soup with pesto
Sweetnicks' Nick gobbled up a Rachael Ray spinach salad

VEGGIES for KIDS is a continuing crusade here at A Veggie Venture, a forum for parents wanting to encourage healthful eating habits at home and school. What works for you?What would you like to fix at your own table? Leave a comment, send an e-mail or write your own post -- ideas and links along with kid-tested recipes will be posted inVeggies for Kids.

Day 205: Satisfying Lunch in One Point ♥

My favorite standby lunch, year-round, with any luck, the inspiration to help readers discover their own low-point standby lunch.
~recipe & photo updated 2010~
2005: If you're wondering, yes, those are canned beans! But please, keep reading. Canned beans are not required!

When there's a big supper on the calendar, this is my standard eat-at-my-desk lunch. It racks up a grand total of 1 Weight Watchers point (that's about 5% of a day's calories) but is still very filling and very satisfying. (If I'm having hunger pains before going out, I might fix another. The point is to fill up -- with volume and fiber -- without wasting the wonderful calories that'll be so enjoyed later on! I fix the same salad at five o'clock to avoid overeating at a happy hour. Or if I've had a big lunch out but still want to nosh for supper. Or if I'm just too full from too much and too-rich food over a few days. Or just because it's easy and fast and healthful.


Day 204: Potato Soup ♥

Today my back-door neighbor delivered a sample of her leek'n'potato soup. After the first bite, I groaned. After the second, I swooned.

We've swapped recipes for awhile now so it's a safe bet that the soup was fat (literally and figuratively) with butter and olive oil and cream.

But hey! She's been married for 50+ years and has the physique of a 20-something. Maybe it's the soup! I rationalized. I licked the bowl and decided, on the spot, to try my own.

My version (the one in the picture) is accidentally less leek-ish and decidedly more healthful. (I did deliver a cream- and yogurt-laced batch to the east-side neighbors. Beforehand, I tried a spoonful. It was good enough though not swoon worthy.)

The recipe is a good basic start for your own creative soup-making, moving where the veggie gods take you. And I'll work on my neighbor for her recipe!

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 90 minutes
Makes 6 cups without and 7 cups with added cream/y…

Day 203: Roasted Butternut Squash ♥

Today's vegetable recipe: How to roast a butternut squash, cut in half and roasted cut-side down.
~recipe & photo updated & reposted 2012~
~more recently updated recipes~
2005 Original Post: Lots of squash a-cookin' here! Here is my number one tip for roasting winter squash, make good use of the oven and dishwasher by cooking two, not one, butternut squash at a time. In the Recipe Box, recipes calling for pre-cooked squash are marked with a Watch for recipes calling for cooked squash, marked with this , watch for it.

Tonight's culinary question is what made two squash turn out so very different? I'm stymied about what might be the source of the differences, if anyone cares to chime in!

Both butternut squash were purchased on the same day from the same bin and had been stored the same, on the counter looking all healthful and fall-wholesome. Both had the same appearance on the outside. But my goodness, once split open, what a difference:

Day 202: Broccoli Soufflé ♥

It was supposed to bake for 20 minutes. It took nearly an hour.

It was supposed to rise up in an airy pillow. It was more like a favorite old feather-flattened pillow. (Though hey, it DID deflate so maybe it was better than apparent?)

Sounds like a failure, yes? No way, even if timing and aesthetics were less than ideal.

This broccoli soufflé, my first soufflé ever, was absolutely honest-to-goodness spoon-lickin' delicious and I can't wait for the opportunity to perfect the technique.

Thanks to Kitchen Chick for hosting Is My Blog Burning, another online food event, this one featuring cooks from all over the world worry-watching their ovens for the oh-so-desirable soufflé poof. There are many other first-time soufflérs in the event, most who experienced great success. My thoughts/tips on what might have gone wrong with mine are included below but the other posts are well worth reviewing.

Hands-on time: maybe 45 minutes (but shortcup tips are below)
Time to tabl…

Day 201: Butternut Squash Soup

With so many delicious-sounding and -looking squash soup recipes popping up on food blogs, I had to try one too.

But instead I took a shortcut and picked this up this package at Trader Joe's for some moment when a cupful of soup was needed in a minute flat.

And it was good enough though to my taste, not as good as the creamy corn version from Day 153 nor even half so good as this Squash & Pear Soup.

Hands-on time: 2 minutes
Time to table: 2 minutes
Serves 2

Pour a half cup soup into two small microwave-safe dishes and warm, separately, in the microwave for one minute apiece. Top with croutons or toasted pumpkin seeds or sour cream if you're feelin' fancy.

Per cup, 90 calories, 2 grams fat, 16 grams carb, 3 grams fiber, Weight Watchers 1 point

Day 200: Broccoli with Garlic Oyster Sauce ♥

It's just so absolutely perfect that on Day 200 (imagine, 200!) of cooking vegetables in a new way every single day, what emerged from the veggie bin is this delicious, easy, nutritious side dish. We can never, ever get enough broccoli!

It's every day food. It's wonderful.

Timing is important in this recipe. The broccoli won't be cooked after only five minutes of steaming. However, be sure to have the sauce ready by then. Add it to the drained broccoli, cover, and let rest for five minutes so that the flavors can meld and the broccoli can finish cooking. Another five minutes? Too many, trust me.

~ more broccoli recipes ~
~ Never-the-Same Steamed Broccoli, where I first learned about the real trick for great steamed broccoli that starts with aggressive trimming with a carrot peeler and a knife ~
~ more Weight Watchers one-point recipes ~
~ more favorite vegetable recipes (this was my very favorite recipe in October 2005) ~


Kitchen Parade Extra: Mocha Morsels

It's about time!

FINALLY we can turn on the oven without first turning on the air. So set that oven to 350F and mix up a batch of the Mocha Morsels featured in this week's Kitchen Parade column.

Day 199: Secret-Ingredient Chocolate Cake ♥

When you write about vegetables, some times it takes an extra cup of creativity to participate in the dessert-loving food event Sugar High Friday, this month hosted by Lovescool and featuring chocolate.

But chocolate turned out to be easy. Choices included:
... chocolate & zucchini, a 1960s cake combination made famous long before the popular Parisian blog adopted the moniker
... chocolate & carrot, usually in otherwise-traditional carrot cakes
... chocolate & sweet potato, in Southern-style sweet potato pies
But this chocolate and vegetable pair is new to me, chocolate and ... chocolate and ... think ... think ... think ... hint: think root vegetable ... hint: think RED root vegetable ... think .... think .... think beets.

BEETS? Yes, beets!

And the cake tasted quite good though it was not especially 'interesting' taste-wise since the beets seem to add structure and sweetness and a hint of color but little taste. Still, it's an easy and inexpensive way to add nutri…

Day 188: Squash Pizza ♥

St Louis is one grand sports town for fans, owners and players alike. We love our Rams and we love our Blues. But more than anything, we love our Cardinals and the tradition of redbird baseball.

(This is a food post, promise! Read on!)

Tonight, the Cardinals played the Astros in Game 6 for the National League Championship title. We lost 5-1, making tonight's the last game of the season, the last game at forty-season Busch Stadium and the last game broadcast by signal-strong KMOX that made the Cardinals the hometown team in at least ten states. (This morning's paper says it well, the emotion, the pride, the disappointment.)

So the game was lost. It won't comfort the sports-only folks but foodies, know this: At least the pizza was good!

For the crust, I used a new Boboli product, a whole wheat thin-cardboard, I mean, thin-crust. (Next time I'll perfect the crust technique first tried here.) I also do NOT appreciate how Boboli is making it difficult to compare nutrition l…

Day 187: Brussels Sprouts with Lemon & Parmesan

See the X in the stem end?

That's one trick to cooking Brussels sprouts evenly, inside as well as out. The other is to select sprouts which are similar in size. I happen to like the teeny-tiny bite-size ones.

The lemon/Parmesan treatment was "okay" but forgettable.

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 8 (a few seem to go a long way)

1 pound Brussels sprouts
Juice of a lemon
Bit of grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Place 1 - 2 inches of water in a large pot with a steamer basket and bring to a boil.

Wash the Brussels sprouts. Cut off the stem end, leaving about 2/3 of the sprout and discarding the tougher outer leaves that come loose. With the tip of a knife, make an X into the interior of the core. (The trimming can be done far in advance, even a day or so if you're making for a holiday dinner.)

Transfer to the steamer tray and place over the boiling water. Cover and let steam for about 15 minutes or until co…